Global Recycling

Rogue Disposal responds to global recycling crisis

For years, China has taken in roughly 60% of the world’s recyclable materials. However, China warned that as of January 2018, it would no longer accept mixed paper (like junk mail and cereal-box-type material) as well as certain “waste plastics” (any plastics with numbers 3 – 7 stamped on the bottom of the item).

This threat of a crackdown sent a shockwave through our industry, resulting in stockpiling of mixed recyclables with no place to go. This has proven to be especially true in more rural areas of the state, which are hundreds of miles from recycling processors in Portland, northern California and Washington. At Rogue Materials Recovery (RMR), where we accept mixed recyclables from a number of different haulers from southern Oregon, the impact of this drastic change was first felt back in October. That’s when we began having to stockpile material inside and outside of the facility pending permission from our state regulator, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, to send the material to Dry Creek Landfill on a temporary basis — until reliable markets could be found for the material.

Rethinking recycling

Now that China has significantly restricted the import of some materials currently in our commingle mix, we have worked to come up with a new mix of materials that we KNOW can be recycled. Customers have been used to recycling a certain way for many years, and change will take time. But our goal at Rogue Disposal will be to help our customers recycle materials for which we know there are sustainable, affordable markets — now and into the future. These changes will be going into effect March 5, 2018, with a greatly simplified list of acceptable recyclables.

What CAN be recycled curbside? Corrugated cardboard — that’s the kind with the wavy center. Milk jug style containers — rinsed out with no lids. Newspaper and inserts — no magazines. Plus tin and aluminum cans — rinsed out with no lids. That’s it. And while the new list is much shorter, the good news is that if we can stick to this list, these materials can — and will — be recycled, rather than ending up in a landfill.

Glass can still be recycled — just not at the curb

The problem with glass in the mixed curbside recycling stream is that processors now consider it a contaminant. So if a recycling load contains glass mixed in with other materials, the entire load may be rejected for recycling.

To get glass out of the mixed recycling stream and reuse it in a beneficial and environmentally responsible way, we have worked with several local grocery stores to locate Glass Drop Off boxes in their parking lots. This allows people in the area to drop off their glass bottles and jars at the following convenient locations: Sherm’s Thunderbird and Food 4 Less, plus Ray’s Food Place in Phoenix, Central Point, and Jacksonville.
Click here for a flyer.

We are fortunate in the Rogue Valley to have a local option for our glass, as long as we can collect it separately from other materials. We crush the glass and use it to line the gas-collection trenches at Dry Creek Landfill. This repurposed glass is used in place of rock, which would otherwise need to be mined and crushed.

We are dedicated to remaining responsive during this crisis and are grateful to our employees, our city and county partners — and especially to our customers for their help in being part of the solution.

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